The Power of the Liberal Arts

Each of the student, faculty, and alumni stories within this issue are testaments to reaching life goals, facing challenges, and overcoming obstacles, and each shares a common theme: the value of a liberal arts education.

Scroll down to see this issue's featured stories
The interior of the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art

A Great Museum for a Great University

School of Music, Theatre, and Dance

Great universities have great art museums, and Colorado State is no exception.

Then I found Colorado State University


Economics major Lauren Bouman shares how she is living her passion and thanks College of Liberal Arts donors for their support.

What it Means to be Human


“When we talk about science and the way it is related to politics, we are looking at the way in which human activities are interdependent with the wider world.”

The ‘welcoming back of a nation’


Jason LaBelle’s research highlights the rich history of indigenous peoples and bison in northern Colorado.

A Lasting Legacy

Ethnic Studies

Irene Vernon’s record of service to underrepresented groups has made an enduring mark on campus.

Jo Buckley, Landscape

Global Treks and Triple Majors

History | International Studies | Languages, Literatures and Cultures

In her third year of college, Jo Buckley juggles the collective titles of world traveler, community leader and triple major.

Kyu Rim Kang, a doctoral student in occupation and rehabilitation science at Colorado State University, administers a test to B Sharp participant Hal Squier before the Fort Collins Symphony concert on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (Corey H. Jones/CPR News)

Awakening the mind with music

School of Music, Theatre, and Dance | Sociology

A CSU program shows that attending the symphony reverses cognitive decline in people with dementia.

Czech Abroad: On the Building and Breaking Down of Walls

Ethnic Studies

Like many American school children, I had heard many stories. Also like many American school children, I had never seen the wall.

Anthropology Students complete field training in Belize.

Student receives archaeological training in Belize


Anthropology senior Jesse Bain had the opportunity to participate in the Rio Bravo Archaeological Survey in Belize.

The CSU Marching Band: longest-standing Ram tradition

School of Music, Theatre, and Dance

Formed in 1901, CSU’s marching band is the longest-standing tradition, and has maintained it’s mission to represent the University, support our athletic teams, and entertain fans.

Center Celebrates Decade of Student-Cultivated Public Dialogue

Communication Studies

A program that gives CSU students real-world experience facilitating discussions on difficult issues recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Elizabeth Sink during her Tedx Talk

Overcoming Divisiveness

Communication Studies

“I love to bring people into the room who think they are so different from each other. Those are the starting points to work from to make the world a better place.”

CSU center partners with National Park Service to provide historical scholarship


CSU’s Public Lands History Center has received new support that will allow it to partner with the National Park Service on an expanded number of large, complex research projects.

Art students transfer tradition to South African mural on campus

Art and Art History

CSU art students created a South Sotho mural out of soil, manure and tempera paint.

Alumni acquire coffee shop, plan to hire people with disabilities

International Studies

Fresh-brewed coffee and helping adults with disabilities is not what Chelsi and Justin Wells thought they would be doing after graduation.

Honoring a Teacher and a Dancer

School of Music, Theatre, and Dance

Cythnia Mousel’s scholarship not only honors her teacher, Mrs. Fagan, but also honors the students who pursue a dance major.

When is it ethical to euthanize your pet?


Dr. Bernard Rollin examines the ethics of euthanizing pets.

Yusef Komunyakaa

Writers Bring their Work to Life


In 2016, CSU has hosted two Pulitzer Prize-winning poets, one national award winner for nonfiction, and an award winning English department alumnus.

Rally ‘Round the Flag of Justice

LEAP Institute for the Arts

Sandy Ceas’ work revolves around global social issues, particularly focusing on the impact of religion on communities.

Rekindle the Classics, first session, January 2016

English Beyond: Speak Out! and Rekindle the Classics


The English department enacts their passion through programs that extend beyond the boundaries of our classrooms, and even our campus.

Erica LaFehr, a junior sociology major

More than just a student

Ethnic Studies | Sociology

Sociology and Ethnic Studies major Erica LeFehr discusses ups and downs of being a full-time student and a mom.

Media strategist and Colorado State University Communication Studies alumnus Jim Vidakovich talks about plans for the ACT Human Rights Film Festival's future at a VIP reception, April 16, 2016.

TV strategist Vidakovich joins ACT Human Rights Film Festival team

Communication Studies

Alumnus Jim Vidakovich has garnered a reputation as one of the top media strategists in Hollywood.

Environmental justice group emerges at CSU

Political Science | Sociology

A growing number of CSU faculty, staff and students have been joining a campus initiative focused on environmental justice.

Deanne Seitz, an ASL instructor at CSU, used the research done by Hopkins and Moyer to advocate to the dean of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures for the creation of an ASL minor. Although the proposal received widespread support from students and faculty members, a lot of work still needs to be done before the minor can be created, Moyer said. “The department is supporting this effort, aware of student interest, aware of faculty interest…but it’s going to be a couple more years down the road,” Moyer said. In order to introduce a minor into this department, the ASL program requires upper-division culture classes that match other language programs. The two new courses that will be offered next fall will help fulfill that requirement. In the past five years, the number of ASL class sections offered at CSU has increased. In 2011, there were only two sections of ASL I and one section of ASL II. Now, the department offers four sections of ASL I, two sections of ASL II, and one section of ASL III and ASL IV, Seitz said. Increased student interest in studying ASL at CSU mirrors national trends. Between 2009 and 2013, the Modern Language Association reported that the number of students enrolled in ASL courses increased by 19 percent nationally, Seitz said. “(CSU students are) extremely passionate about ASL and the deaf community,” Seitz said. “Once they go beyond the first semester… they want to drink in as much as they can about deaf culture.” As a supplement to these academic courses, students can also to join the Colostate Sign Club. The club hosts deaf socials that put on activities like silent diners, deaf theater and bowling in Greeley, Hopkins said. “In this, you’re learning about a whole sector of people you don’t know anything about,” Hopkins said. Moyer, who has studied ASL for the past five years, said that she enjoys learning the language because it is unique. “ASL is a very different kind of language because not only is it manual, using your hands, you can learn non-verbal communication techniques…it actually uses more of your left brain…you can incorporate more skills that you weren’t aware you had,” Moyer said. Moyer also said that studying ASL helps people reconsider their preconceptions about deafness. “Most of the deaf people I’ve met don’t see themselves as disabled,” Moyer said. “They’re just different, and different is never wrong. Just because they aren’t identical to us doesn’t mean that they are somehow broken and need to be fixed.” Hopkins said that learning about the history of prejudice associated with deaf culture encouraged her to advocate for this community. “You don’t have to be LGBTQ to advocate for those rights, you don’t have to be deaf to advocate for deaf rights,” Hopkins said. Brian Edwards, sociology major with a concentration in criminology and criminal justice, said that learning ASL has helped him gain a greater understanding of deaf culture and an appreciation of languages. Edwards attends the ASL service offered at Cross Roads Church. “We should embrace deaf culture more and not treat it as an impairment because, as one of the church members says, ‘I am not impaired…you are because you can’t read sign language,’” Edwards said. Alex Forseth, senior psychology major, said there is a great value to learning ASL, “Sign language is an actual language,” Forseth said. “A lot of people think it is random hand signs. No, it isn’t. Is has a structure.” Forseth also said that he has enjoyed taking ASL classes at CSU and would encourage others to learn more about this language by looking into the program and getting involved. “It’s a great language, just at least try it.”

Sign Language courses to be introduced next fall

Languages, Literatures and Cultures

The Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures is working to create an American Sign Language minor.

Learning the Business of Art

LEAP Institute for the Arts

“The LEAP program covers a side to the art world that I wouldn’t have gotten exposure to otherwise.”

Maggie Parsons

First generation student finds success at CSU

Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts

A first generation scholar recalls the support she received while completing her undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts.

Student Spotlight: Tyler Olson


When Tyler Olson thinks about his degree in economics, he doesn’t think of the money he could make with it; instead, he thinks of how he can use it to better the world.


Professional communicators inducted into CSU Media Hall of Fame

Journalism and Media Communication

The Department of Journalism and Media Communication inducted 10 outstanding professional communicators into the CSU Media Hall of Fame.

December declared Student Media Celebration Month

Journalism and Media Communication

Fort Collins’ mayor Wade Troxell proclaimed December 2016 as Student Media Celebration Month.

Student Spotlight: Trevor Abeyta

Political Science

Trevor Abeyta reflects on the invaluable experience he has gained through the Political Science department’s graduate internship program.

Liberal Arts shines at Graduate Student Showcase

Anthropology | Art and Art History | Economics | English | Ethnic Studies | History | Sociology

The Graduate Showcase celebrates research, creativity and entrepreneurship and provides an arena for interdisciplinary collaboration.

College of Liberal Arts Commencement
Benjamin Withers, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts

Message from the Dean

College of Liberal Arts

Dean Ben Withers reflects on the impact of the liberal arts.